Tag Archives: the heritage of Jewish people


Blog 335 January 30, 2017

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In contrast to my usual blog, my focus is different today. One of my minor interests (although there’s nothing minor about it) is archeological discovery. During the years I roamed over the excavations in Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, I found many exciting findings that are described in my latest book Bible Lands: An Illustrated Guide to Scriptural Places. Recently uncovered and developed sites like Beth She’an are off the beaten path in the Galilee but have the finest ancient Roman theatre in the country and remain a great visit.

Usually I update my readers on what’s happening behind the headlines in the major countries of the Middle East. Even though, the region is now enmeshed in war and struggle, the archeologists keep on digging and working. The result is that extraordinary surprises pop up all the time. Here’s some examples.

A “Freedom Zion” coin was recently uncovered in Jerusalem, dating back to the period when Israel struggled against Roman oppression which led to the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. The backside of the coin reads, “Two years since the Great Revolt” which means the coin was minted in 67 CE. Such a find clarifies ancient Israel’s place in history and helps verify the story of the past.

Another rare find by the University of Haifa is an underwater discovery of a massive rectangular stone with the engraved name of Gargilius Antiques. He was the procurator that controlled Judea during the years of upheaval just prior to the Bar-Kochba Revolt. During that final revolt the Jews recaptured many of the areas lost to the Romans in 70 CE, including Jerusalem. However, the Jewish army collapsed after the final battle in Betar, Bar-Kochba’s headquarters. This is only the second time the name Judea was revealed in an ancient inscription. Many artifacts such as anchors and pottery were also found at this dig. The Tel Dor site is south of Haifa.

While construction was pending in the city of Yehud, archeology students turned up an amazing find that dated to the Middle Bronze Age nearly 4,000 years ago. The jug with a small figure sitting on top was unlike anything ever found before. The level of precision and attention to detail in the jug was extremely amazing for a find from this period.

During my time in Jerusalem a year ago, I walked through the on-going excavations in the City of David’s archeological site. Standing on the ground where history unfolded two millenniums ago was indeed humbling. Officials such as Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar recently lit candles on this site during Hanukkah. The rabbi pointed out that no UN resolution can deny the heritage of Jewish people that stretches back to those ancient times.


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